Caviaris processed, salted fish roe (eggs). There are several caviar types and many varieties of fish that contribute to this ancient gourmet treat.
True caviar, gourmet caviar, however, comes from sturgeon only, primarily, Beluga, Osetra, and Sevruga sturgeons. Every species of sturgeon, however, is on the endangered species list.
The largest remaining deposit of sturgeon is in the Caspian Sea, shared by Russian and Iranian producers, where 85% of today’s wild caviar originates.
There are 4 caviar types, that is, four processing methods.
First is the Malossol method, preferred by connnoisseurs. Malossol means ‘little salt’ or ‘lightly salted’ and refers to fresh caviar with less than 5% salt. Modern fresh caviar often has much less, about 3.5%. The term is sometimes used to describe any high quality caviar, though.
The second caviar type and quality is Salted Caviar , sometimes called ‘semi-preserved’ caviar. It contains up to 8% salt. The more salt, the longer the shelf life, but taste may be compromised.
Pressed Caviar is next in quality. Made from too-soft, damaged, broken and overly ripe eggs, it is treated, highly salted, and pressed to a jam-like consistency. Once the only method available for preserving caviar, this is still the favourite of many connoisseurs for its strong, concentrated flavor. The last of the caviar types is Pasteurized Caviar. Fresh caviar is heat-treated and vacuum packed in glass jars for much longer preservation. Both taste and texture may be affected